Greg Abbott, Texas' governor, said Saturday that he will pardon a person convicted of murdering an Austin protester on Friday if a state board brings such a request before him.
The Board of Pardons and Paroles will decide the fate of Daniel S. Perry who was found guilty of murdering Garrett Foster at a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020.
The members of the board, appointed by Governor, decide who is eligible for a pardon. Mr. Perry could be sentenced to life in prison.
Mr. Abbott tweeted: 'Texas is home to the strongest "Stand Your Ground" laws for self-defense, which cannot be overturned by a District Attorney or jury.
He added, 'I am looking forward to accepting the pardon recommendation of the board as soon as I receive it.
A pardon would allow Mr. Perry to be released from prison, restore his voting rights and reinstate his jury service.
The statement from the Governor came after Matt Rinaldi expressed his disdain over the verdict. He said that "this case should never have been prosecuted" and that the governor's pardon was "in order."
On Saturday night, Mr. Abbott's Office and the Board of Pardons and Paroles failed to respond immediately to comments.
The Travis County District attorney's office that prosecuted this case could be undermined by the potential pardon of Mr. Perry.
This week, Republican legislators introduced a bill to the State Senate which would limit the powers of elected prosecutors. Especially those from counties with a left-leaning, who refuse to pursue certain cases like those related to abortion restrictions.
Travis County District Attorney’s Office did not respond immediately to an email seeking comments on Saturday.
The police reported that on July 25, 2020 Mr. Perry was a U.S. Army sergeant who was driving for Uber. He drove towards a group of marchers and stopped, according to the police.
The authorities reported that Mr. Foster approached the vehicle. He was a former aircraft technician for the U.S. Air Force, who wore a face bandanna and carried a AK-47 style rifle on a belt in front of his body.
Attorneys for Mr. Perry stated during the trial, that Mr. Foster threatened Mr. Perry when he pointed his gun at their client.
They claimed that Mr. Perry had acted in self-defense when he shot Mr. Foster. Prosecutors, however, said that Mr. Perry was the one who started it.
During the trial prosecutors cited Mr. Perry's posts on social media as evidence. For example, when he wrote he may 'kill a couple of people on my way into work; they're rioting outside my complex', The Austin American-Statesman stated.
The jury unanimously decided to convict Perry. The law firm of Doug O'Connell that represented Mr. Perry did not respond immediately to requests for comments.
According to KXAN's video of the trial, after the verdict was announced, Mr. Perry hid his face, slumped his shoulders and began crying.
The American-Statesman quoted Ryan Foster as saying that Perry shouldn't be pardoned.
Kyle Rittenhouse is one of the supporters of Mr. Perry. In November 2021, he was acquitted of all charges after his trial for the shootings of two white men, both of whom were killed, following demonstrations in Kenosha in 2020, over the shooting by a police officer of a Black person.
Mr. Rittenhouse whose case ignited a debate about gun rights wrote on Twitter Saturday that he was praying that the Board of Pardons and Paroles recommends to the Governor that Mr. Perry is pardoned.
Each year, Mr. Abbott is known to grant pardons at Christmas. He granted eight pardons in December 2021.
Thomas Whitaker, who was to be executed by Mr. Abbott, was spared.
The Governor accepted the unanimous recommendation of Board of Pardons that Mr. Whitaker's death sentence be changed to life without parole. Whitaker was convicted of orchestrating the murder of his mother and younger brother in Houston in 2003.